Our medium walks last for between 2 and 3 hours and cover around 15 kilometers. There are some long climbs on all of them but they are not difficult walks. Some of them go in a loop from the gite while others end up in one of the medieval hilltop villages which surround us. There's time for a refreshment before we get a lift back to the gite.
The cemetery and Commanderie at Vaour
We follow part of the Grisinhola on the loop to Vaour and back, leaving the gite by the Chemin de st Salvi. We skirt the vineyards of Beaudinencq before climbing up through an oak wood to the hamlet of St Salvi. There are great views south east towards the pyrenees and northwards.
We then head back into an ancient forest and pick up an old templar road to Vaour where we pass by the ruins of the 13th century Commanderie de Templiers before entering Vaour.
After a look around this ancient village, we take the unclassified road back towards Itzac winding along the valley side.
Castelnau de Montmiral (11.9 km)
Castelnau can be clearly seen standing on the horizon from the gite. It is a fortified village from the 12th century with a lovely arcaded square at its heart.
We take the chemins from Itzac through the vineyards of Beaudinencq and Campagnac to St Beauzille, tucked out of site in a dip. We then wind across a large plateau through numerous vineyards and passing large ancient farmhouses before making the long climb up to Castelnau.
At the statue of Mary there panoramic views of the countryside back towards Itzac and the Gresigne Forrest. We'll explore the narrow village streets before getting a refreshment at the Auberge in the square, and then return to Itzac by car.
View from statue of Mary
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Cordes sur Ciel (14.7 km)
Cordes sur Ciel is one of the most visited villages in France. Built on a rocky outcrop in the 13th century to defend its Cathar inhabitants, its steep sloping narrow streets lead up to a centre full of shops and restaurants surrounding its ancient covered marketplace.
The walk to Cordes takes us from Itzac to Amarens and then over a high ridge where we visit an old mine where millstones were hewed from the limestone rock. We then descend to the valley below the village and then climb up through the streets and under the 3 fortified gates to reach the top.
We have lunch in the market square before returning to Itzac by car.